Lower fees for adult day activity centres for lower-income persons with disabilities

A fee cap will be introduced for day activity centre clients from households with gross per capita household income of $2,800 a month or less.
A fee cap will be introduced for day activity centre clients from households with gross per capita household income of $2,800 a month or less.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Persons with disabilities from lower-income families will pay less for services at adult day activity centres from October this year, as part of plans to improve their quality of life and services received.

Adult day activity centres and disability homes will also receive more funding, meant to raise the standards of care and services, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced on Tuesday (April 20).

The ministry is also piloting a new disability case management programme meant to better support persons with disabilities who have higher support needs and their caregivers.

These moves come about a week after MSF unveiled a slew of recommendations put forth by two work groups under the Third Enabling Masterplan to improve the lives of persons with disabilities here.

MSF said that from Oct 1, 2021, a fee cap will be introduced for day activity centre clients from households with gross per capita household income of $2,800 a month or less.

Over 500 of the more than 1,300 existing clients, who currently pay between $106 and $754 monthly, will see their fees reduced.

The reductions range from six to 81 per cent depending on income tier, and this means the new fees will be from $20 to $710.

There are some clients in the lower-income tiers who are already paying a nominal fee that is below the fee cap due to their financial situation.

MSF said it will continue to work with the day activity centres to extend additional financial support to families who may require more help, such as those with multiple family members requiring centre services.

The ministry said that it would invest an additional $3 million a year to enhance the services of the 31 day activity centres, an increase of over 20 per cent from current annual funding.

This is also to enable the centres to hire more care staff to improve the quality of the day care and skills training that they provide to adults with disabilities.

In addition, MSF is investing an additional $6 million on average a year in adult disability homes, an increase of over 25 per cent from current annual funding.

Adult disability homes provide long-term residential care and short-term respite care to adults with disabilities who have no alternative accommodation.

MSF will introduce a new tiered funding model that will see increased resources provided for the more than 900 residents in the 10 homes here.

With the increase in funding, the homes will be able to hire more care staff and psychologists.

The ministry has also rolled out a new three-year disability case management pilot with the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) since April 1.

The pilot aims to support up to 100 persons with disabilities who have high support needs - including those with moderate to severe intellectual disability or autism - and their caregivers.

A nine-person team of social workers and allied health professionals will help each family better access the range of disability and social support services, and coordinate the interventions and services that each family requires.

Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said that the pilot is meant to support not just persons with disabilities with high support needs but also their caregivers.

He added: "We will facilitate stable caregiving arrangements for persons with disabilities, so that they can continue to live with and be cared for by their families and in the community."